Men’s soccer misses playoffs, closes year with victory

Mitchell Berrang

The men’s soccer team entered its final regular season game in desperate need of a win and fortunate results of other Big East matchups to keep its dreams of securing a Big East tournament bid alive. The Wildcats traveled to South Orange, N.J. to take on Seton Hall, which entered Thursday’s matchup seeking its first win of the season.

Despite multiple injuries, the Wildcats managed to rally from a second half two-goal deficit and defeat the Pirates, 3-2 in an overtime thriller. The Pirates got out to an early two-goal lead in the first half of play, but the Wildcats answered loudly with two second half goals of their own. Both of Villanova’s second half goals came in the last 15 minutes of regular time and were scored within a minute of each other. At the 76:37 minute mark, senior midfielder Sean Sheridan converted a header from Miguel Polley’s corner kick, which would be the spark that ignited the Wildcats comeback. 

Less than a minute after Sheridan’s goal at the 77:36 minute mark, junior forward Max Kroschwitz got in on the scoring action as he rocketed a shot from the right side pass the Pirates goalkeeper to tie the game up, 2-2.

Not only did the back-to-back goals get the Wildcats back in the game, Villanova had clearly seized all the momentum going forward in the remaining minutes of the half. Such momentum allowed Sheridan to once again find the back of the net, at the 95:28 markof overtime. Kroschwitz connected with Sheridan on a long throw from inside the box, which perfectly setup Sheridan who converted the game winner and gave the Wildcats a 3-2 victory. 

Unfortunately, the Wildcats win was not enough to secure them a bid in the Big East tournament. DePaul downed Marquette 3-0 to claim the fifth seed in the tournament, while Providence defeated St. John’s 4-0 to secure the sixth and final seed of the tournament. DePaul and Providence ended the season with 13 points, which gave them a one point advantage over Villanova. Although Villanova finished the year above .500, (9-8), their Big East record was (4-5), which limited them to being ranked seventh and on the cusp of Big East tournament berth. 

This final win of the season truly represents the resiliency that the Wildcats displayed throughout the entire year.  Wildcats Head Coach Tom Carlin commented, “I told the guys after the game how proud I am of them. Even when they were pushed to the brink of their season, they never gave up. They had plenty of chances to give up with all of the adversity we faced and never gave in to that temptation.”

Although this season may not have met the preseason expectations, the Wildcats should be proud of their 2015-2016 campaign. The Wildcats (9-8) record is their best in the past three years. 

Additionally, the future looks bright for the Wildcats. A first-team all-Big East choice, Sheridan may be leaving and will surely be missed by the Wildcats. However, freshman Phenom Zach Zandi, who missed latter parts of the season due to injury, received the honors of being selected for the Big East All-Freshman Team and shows great promise for moving forward.